Bird Dog Training & Trialing

During all phases of training, the speed of advancement will depend on the individual dog. Dogs are similar to humans in that they all learn at different speeds. One dog might catch on right away, and another might take quite a bit longer. We always take training at the pup's speed, not ours. 

Pointer Training

Phase 1 - Beginner

  • Bird intro (your dog will see an average of 125 birds in the 30-day program)
  • E-collar conditioning
  • Basic obediance (here, whoa)
  • Gun conditioning
  • Fetching (always fun!)

During this phase we will use approximately 100 homing pigeons. This saves the customer a substantial amount of money. The remainder of the birds used will be game birds such as Quail, Chukar, or Pheasant.

Phase 2 - Intermediate

  • Holding steady through the flush and shot (we are now asking the dog to stop chasing the bird)
  • Whistle training for directional changes (i.e. two whistles to change direction, multiple whistles to recall)
  • Introduction to working with another dog (backing or honoring)
  • The natural retrieve

Phase 3 - Advanced

  • Holding until released (when the dog is pointing and the bird is killed, he will not break point or release himself until he is either tapped on the head or his name is called to be released)
  • Removal of E-collar (so the dog is dependable or reliable with or without)
  • Learning to work with another dog (having a brace mate)
  • Honoring the other dog right through his or her entire retrieve

The Conditioned Retrieve

The conditioned retrieve is also referred to as the force fetch. This is an alternative method used for dogs that simply refuse to retrieve or for dogs that have a hard mouth, sloppy mouth, etc. Because many of our clients want a professional delivery while hunting or competing in hunt tests or field trials, the conditioned retrieve process may be required. 

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Retriever Training

Phase 1 - Beginner

  • Basic obedience
  • E-collar conditioning
  • Gun conditioning
  • Place board incorporated with the sit stay platform
  • The start of whistling the dog into a sitting and facing handler position
  • Introduction to live birds

Phase 2 - Intermediate

  • Sit spins (sending a dog out on a straight line, blowing a hard whistle, and having the dog turn around and look at the handler waiting for instruction)
  • Force the pile (introducing the pup to a pile of dummies encouraging him to run out pick one up and bring one back to the handler.
  • Intro to over and backs (asking the pup to run a straight line and if he really catches on we'll start him on over)
  • Steady work (asking pup to hold his position until handler releases him)

Phase 3 - Advanced

  • Over and backs using the baseball diamond concept (after a dog is blown down at the pitcher‘s mound and now waiting for instructions, we either send them on a back to second base or send him on an over to first or second)
  • Blind retrieves (Using the tools they have learned with blowdowns, we can direct them into a dummy or bird that is hidden. This is simulating a crippled or down bird that they did not see fall.)
  • Water work (After all the ground work, now we start over in the water)

The Conditioned Retrieve

Unlike the pointing dog, the waterfowl dog must retrieve. This is ultimately their job. For breeds such as the Labrador Retriever or Chesapeake Bay Retriever, etc., this comes very naturally. However, some just don't do it very well and it is very difficult to train if the dog won't pick up the object you're sending them for. If this is the case, they must go through the conditioned retrieve process before any training for the retrieving dog can be done. 

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